Month: June 2018

Spotlight on the 2018 Ashley for the Arts Festival

ashleyfortheartsSince becoming one of the top companies in the home furnishings industry, Ashley Furniture has maintained a positive presence in communities across the country. Ashley’s dedication to social responsibility drives the company’s various philanthropic initiatives focused on social, educational, environmental, and health issues. Ashley also sponsors a number of art, music, and entertainment events, including its very own Ashley for the Arts festival.

Now in its 10th year, Ashley for the Arts was first held in 2009 and has since grown to become one of the largest charitable events in Wisconsin. The three-day music and art festival now draws over 50,000 people to Memorial Park in Ashley’s hometown of Arcadia. In addition to offering great entertainment and family-oriented activities, Ashley for the Arts raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for local organizations. Here’s what attendees can expect to experience when Ashley for the Arts celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018:

 

Two Days of Top Musical Entertainment

Each year, one of the major highlights of Ashley for the Arts is its lineup of musical headliners. This year’s event, which will take place from August 9 to August 11, will feature several well-known artists. The headlining performances will kick off on Friday at 4 p.m. with music from Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter ZZ Ward. The music will continue that night as Rick Springfield, Daughtry, and Chris Janson each take the stage. On Saturday, the lineup includes Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay, Andy Grammer, and Rascal Flatts.

concert

Along with nationally touring musicians, Ashley for the Arts features performances from a number of local acts. At this year’s event, a dozen bands and individual musicians will play throughout Friday and Saturday. Ashley for the Arts’ musical lineup will also include school showcases at the Memorial Park Millennium Amphitheater. The Aquinas MS Choir & Jazz Combo, Cotter Marching Band, Cardinal Music Experience, and several other school ensembles will perform during the event.

 

Running in Pursuit of a Cure

In 2012, Ashley for the Arts added a charitable 5K to the festivities. Originally launched exclusively as an American Cancer Society fundraiser, the annual Pursuit of a Cure 5K Run/Walk now raises money for other organizations, as well as for local emergency services and families in need. Current beneficiaries include the American Cancer Society, Rita Tranberg Memorial, and Arcadia Ambulance Service.

The 2018 Pursuit of a Cure 5K will be held August 9 starting at 6:30 p.m. The event will take runners along Arcadia’s Memorial Park Drive. Those planning to take part in Pursuit of a Cure can register through the Ashley for the Arts website. During the registration process, race participants can choose to have their entry fee distributed to one or all of the race beneficiaries. All funds raised through entry fees and donations will support the work of the charities.

 

Artists and Classic Cars

A festival focused on arts and entertainment, Ashley for the Arts features an art and craft fair with nearly 100 booths. Fair participants include local artists showcasing a variety of items, including woodwork, paintings, and jewelry. In addition to providing the opportunity to purchase items from local artists and craftspeople, attendees can view live demonstrations of artwork being created during the fair, which will be held on Friday and Saturday.

After exploring the art and craft fair, Ashley for the Arts attendees can visit the Cruisin’ for the Arts Car Show to view rows of classic cars and motorcycles on display. The event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, will wrap up with an awards presentation honoring the first- and second-place winners of the People’s Choice Award, Ambassador Award, and President’s Award.

 

Family Fun

petting zoo

Ashley for the arts also offers a variety of activities designed especially for families with children. Circus acts, carnival games, and a petting zoo are all part of the festivities, which include interactive arts activities, an inflatable air park, and three hot air balloon launches. On Saturday, the event will offer a fireworks show starting at 9:30 p.m. In between activities, families can enjoy plenty of food to snack on thanks to more than 20 food vendors who will be on hand during the festival.

 

Money Raised for a Worthy Cause

Along with providing entertainment for Arcadia residents and visitors from the surrounding area, the annual Ashley for the Arts event raises much-needed funds for over 40 nonprofit organizations. In 2018, Ashley hopes to repeat the success of the 2017 festival, which raised more than $425,000 for a number of groups, including many local schools. In addition to raising funds for various charitable organizations from its Pursuit of a Cure 5K run/walk and raffle, Ashley donates profits from ticket sales to participating schools and nonprofits.

Tickets to Ashley for the Arts are $10 for all attendees and include admission to the festival for the entire weekend. Additional details, including venue information and a daily schedule, are available at www.ashleyforthearts.com.

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furniture

How to Improve the Customer Experience in Furniture Retail

Furniture retail has taken a hit in recent years due to a slump in home buying and a significant decrease in spending on home furnishings. In fact, the home furnishings market has seen a 25-percent drop in consumer spending over the last 25 years. This reduced spending correlates with a decline in homeownership among younger adults. In the mid-1970s, over half (52 percent) of adults 24 to 34 years of age owned a home. Today, less than a third (29 percent) of adults in that age group are homeowners. Renters and those living with family are less likely to invest in home furnishings, and this has negatively affected many furniture retailers’ bottom line.

Despite these trends, it appears that furniture retailers are approaching the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Retail spending as a whole is improving, and the furniture market is poised to experience a boost in sales as more young people start to buy homes. The huge Millennial generation, which is projected to comprise 73 million people by 2019, is now the largest group of homebuyers. More young people buying homes is good news for furniture retailers, but it doesn’t guarantee that customers will start pouring through store doors and dropping large sums of money.

business

Industry experts have been providing retailers with guidance on how to increase and improve store visits. Although e-commerce dominates other areas of retail, the furniture industry is still a brick-and-mortar business that relies heavily on in-store purchases. Business leaders in the industry must stay focused on making their stores successful if they want to take advantage of upcoming opportunities. The following provides an overview of suggestions for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience and, in turn, secure more sales.

 

Integrate Technology into Shopping Experiences

Although many consumers still prefer to shop for furniture in-person, retailers should not overlook technology’s ability to attract customers and make it easier for them to find the products they want. At the most basic level, all furniture retailers should have a well-designed website that provides engaging content to hold the attention of prospective customers. Such a website serves as a digital storefront where customers can find product images and descriptions along with reviews and other resources that will make it easier for them to decide on a purchase once they are inside the store.

Beyond an informative and easy-to-use website, retailers can enhance the in-store experience by integrating useful technologies into the store layout. Kiosks with apps that provide customer reviews and shopping guides can build customer confidence and direct them to the items they are looking for. Offering augmented reality (AR) capabilities on store kiosks, apps, and websites is another way to improve furniture shopping. AR gives customers the opportunity to see how an item of furniture will look in their home and/or next to other pieces before they make a purchase. Although AR technology requires a significant initial investment, it can lead to more sales after customers virtually “try out” the furniture.

 

Improve Retail Floor Design

While optimizing store layout is important for all retailers, it is even more critical in the furniture industry. The showroom floor is where store managers can display complementary products and encourage customers to purchase a set of items rather than just a single piece. It also gives retailers the opportunity to show off big-ticket items and create displays featuring products found on the store website.

retail

To make the most of their retail space, storeowners should display product groupings designed for both small and large living spaces. Retailers can take it one step further by customizing their displays with those items that customers in the local neighborhood are looking to buy. This type of segmentation requires research, but it can also lead to increased sales and improved inventory management. Regardless of the products on display, it’s important to have a clean, uncluttered showroom floor that customers can easily navigate from the front to the back of the store.

 

Don’t Forget the Basics

Certain store improvements may be impossible for some business owners to implement, but all furniture retailers can do a few basic things to enhance their customers’ shopping experiences. In addition to following the above tips for a better store layout, retailers should make it a point to thoroughly train their employees. Managers and sales teams with in-depth knowledge of the products they are selling can educate customers and help them find what they need. This type of quality service can increase sales and help establish long-term customer relationships.

Along with investing in their employees, all furniture retailers need to understand their market. Running a successful furniture store requires good advertising and wise product selection, but neither of these can be accomplished without understanding the customer base. Market knowledge also informs product pricing and helps ensure retailers can offer the value and personalized attention that will help them remain competitive.

An Insider’s Guide to the Las Vegas Market – What You Need to Know

lasvegasmarketlogoFurniture and home decor professionals from across the country gather at the biannual Las Vegas Market to see the latest styles and trends in home furnishings and interior design. The expansive market features more than 4,000 brands across over 5.4 million square feet of showroom space. In addition to furniture for all rooms in the home, the products on display include bedding, textiles, housewares, floor coverings, lighting, and wall décor.

The 2018 Summer Las Vegas Market takes place July 29 through August 2. Organizers of the five-day event are looking to build on the success of the 2018 Winter Market, which saw a record number of buyers and suppliers in attendance. Those planning to take part in the event can plan ahead so that they know what to expect when they get to Las Vegas. Check out this quick guide for valuable information about the Las Vegas Market.

 

Registration Details

The Las Vegas Market is free to attend. Registration for the event, however, is limited to those who work in the home furnishings, gift, and design trades. This includes furniture retailers and manufacturers, interior decorators, architects, and product distributors.

In addition to government-issued photo identification, all attendees are required to provide proof-of-trade documents to show that they are a member of the home furnishings and/or design industries. Las Vegas Market officials accept business cards and business licenses as well as previous Market purchase orders/invoices to establish proof-of-trade status.

Although guests are welcome to register for the Market at the on-site registration tent, event organizers recommend that attendees register online prior to their arrival. Those who register before the show can pick up their badges using scan-and-go kiosks at the registration tent and select partner hotels (Aria and the Golden Nugget).

 

Where to Stay

The Summer Las Vegas Market is partnering with over two dozen Las Vegas properties to provide attendees with special hotel rates for booking dates from July 28, 2018, to August 2, 2018. Depending on where one stays, daily rates at the partner hotels range from $28 to $270.

Attendees can choose to stay on the Las Vegas Strip or at one of the off-strip partner hotels, including Marriott Las Vegas, Springhill Suites, and Signature at MGM. Available properties also include non-gaming hotels such as Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Mandarin Oriental, and Elara.

mgm-grand-431818_1280

 

The Best Way to Get Around

To save on airfare, those flying into Las Vegas can book a flight with one of the Las Vegas Market’s partner airlines. Partners include WestJet, Air Canada, and United Airlines. Copa Airlines and Delta Air Lines are also offering discounted airfare for event attendees. Available discounts include rates up to 15 percent off the regular price.

After arriving in Las Vegas, Market attendees can rent a car or choose from other available transportation options, including taxis and on-demand car services such as Lyft and Uber. Low-cost shuttles from McCarren International Airport to Las Vegas hotels are also available. Attendees staying at select host hotels can also take advantage of complimentary shuttles to and from Las Vegas Market every morning, afternoon, and evening of the event.

 

Making the Most of the Market Experience

With so much to see and do at the Las Vegas Market, it can be difficult for both first-time and experienced attendees to know where to start. Fortunately, the Las Vegas Market offers numerous tools and resources to make it easier to plan for and explore the event.

The Market Planner is a new digital tool that allows attendees to create and save custom itineraries outlining the sessions they want to experience and the exhibitors they want to meet. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the Las Vegas Market app is another valuable attendee resource. The app, which is updated prior to each Las Vegas Market, includes floor plans, an exhibitor directory, seminar schedules, and a listing of available dining options.

Along with digital tools, Las Vegas Market offers a variety of print publications to help attendees get the most out of their visit. Available publications include the comprehensive Market Resource Guide, the Designer’s Guide to Las Vegas Market, Pavilions Magazine, and the First Look style guide, which highlights the top new trends and products featured at the Market.

 

Things to Do Afterhours

After a long day of exploring products and attending seminars, Market attendees can unwind at on-site happy hour bars or the spacious Grand Plaza Courtyard, which offers refreshments each evening of the event. Off the Market grounds, a number of fun activities are available for those who want to enjoy local attractions. Market organizers suggest side trips to the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory, the Neon Museum Boneyard, and the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts. More information about what to see and do during the Las Vegas Market is available at www.lasvegasmarket.com.

bedroom

The Top 10 Bedroom Furniture and Décor Trends You Need to Know about

Often referred to as a sanctuary, the master bedroom is one of the most-used areas of the home. The room is where the average person spends one-third of his or her life sleeping, but it is also where people relax and wind down from the day before drifting off. To get the most out of such a key space, it’s important to focus on comfort and design while remembering to add a personal touch. Take a look at what’s new in bedroom furniture and décor with this list of the latest bedroom trends:

 

  1. Four-Poster Beds

4 post bed

In addition to buying bigger mattresses, many people are welcoming the return of four-poster beds. These classic pieces have been around for centuries and are now making a comeback in bedrooms with enough room to accommodate them. Unlike their ornate predecessors, however, most modern four-poster beds feature a clean and simple style that stands out without overwhelming the space.

 

  1. Calming Colors

Comfortable furniture and bedding are definitely necessary for proper relaxation, but calming décor can be just as important. Mixing shades of gray and white with pastel tones and pops of soothing blues and greens is a bedroom design trend that supports rest and slumber.

 

  1. Unique Accents

bedroom

Adding unique accents is an easy way to complement a neutral or subdued color palette in the bedroom. Trends in this area include intricate wallpaper, contrasting floral patterns, and eye-catching ceilings with bright colors and/or textured treatments. Designers are also making a statement by adding texture to the bedroom with accent walls of wood or concrete.

 

  1. A New Twist on Headboards

Although it is an often-overlooked furniture piece, the headboard can be an important design feature in the bedroom. Today’s trends favor either a minimal headboard or a prominent piece that showcases one’s personal style. Low or almost nonexistent headboards are perfect for those who want to show off an accent wall. Others are choosing to make the headboard itself a focal point by incorporating textured upholstery and repurposed material into the piece.

 

  1. Metallic Details

bedroom

Using metallic accents throughout the home is a design trend that remains strong. In the bedroom, metal lamps and light fixtures in copper and gold tones are in fashion. Bedside tables and bed frames with warm metallic details are also on trend among those looking to create a sophisticated look.

 

  1. A Touch of Luxury

Combining practical features with luxurious design elements is a trend that is helping to turn the bedroom into a dreamy retreat. Luxury in the bedroom starts with soft fabrics such as cashmere, mohair, and faux fur. Velvet is especially popular, and it is showing up on pillows, cushions, bedding, and upholstery. Furniture with carved features is also on-trend, and many people are opting to replace their boring ceiling fans with classic chandeliers or other eye-catching fixtures.

 

  1. Nightstands and Bedside Tables

night table

In many bedrooms, the nightstand is simply a place to put a clock, lamp, and some nighttime reading material. And while it’s important that they serve a purpose, nightstands and bedside tables certainly don’t have to be boring. Modern pieces from Ashley HomeStore and other retailers focus just as much on style as they do on utility. Those who want something a bit more casual can join the current trend of repurposing chairs, stools, and even old luggage trunks to serve as their bedside table.

 

  1. Dark Furniture

While white furniture is still a great choice for many design schemes, dark wood furniture is a classic that is seeing a resurgence in popularity in the bedroom. In fact, the use of dark wood is a design trend that is showing up throughout the home. Deep brown and even black furniture, which has long been out of fashion, is back in style. In addition to supporting a modern luxe look, brown, ebony, and other dark tones coordinate well with a variety of colors and designs.

 

  1. Spots for Relaxation

bedroom

For many people, the bedroom is much more than a sleeping spot. Those with kids or roommates may even find that their bedroom is the only place in the house where they can be alone and enjoy some peace and quiet. The need for a peaceful retreat is fueling a trend to create cozy sitting areas in any bedroom space not taken up by a bed and other essential furniture. One or two comfortable chairs along with a footstool and/or small end table provide the perfect spot to enjoy a book or some quality alone time.

 

  1. The Bed-in-a-Box

Rolled like a sleeping bag and compressed into an easily transportable size, the bed-in-a-box is a convenient and affordable mattress option. Once out of the box, the mattress begins expanding until it reaches its full size and is ready to provide a good night’s sleep. The bed-in-the-box trend started with online companies, but the mattresses are now available through a number of furniture manufacturers and retailers, including Ashley HomeStore. Sales of beds-in-a-box have doubled in recent years and still show no signs of slowing down.